Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel says Cesar Azpilicueta will be totally worthy of achieving a major club record if he features in their FA Cup final against Liverpool today.
The Spaniard could become the Blues player to play in the highest number of finals with 13 should he manage to get a few minutes at the Wembley showpiece. It will take him past the current record held by Frank Lampard and Petr Cech.
He’s been steadily chipping away at the list since last year as Azpilicueta has reached four different finals, including that of the Champions League.
After last May’s European success, he further lifted the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup – two titles that eluded the aforementioned Chelsea legends.
Tuchel was ecstatic for his defender to reach the milestone and told the club media (via The Chelsea Chronicle):
“It’s so nice that, he knows how I mean this, not the most talented guy in the world has a record like this.
“This is what I love about this. The hardest worker and the guy with the biggest heart has this kind of record.
“That’s why we love him and that’s why he’s captain of Chelsea and that’s why he deserves it.”
However, the record wouldn’t mean anything if Azpilicueta and co. were defeated by Liverpool, who also beat them in the Carabao Cup final earlier this season.
For the Chelsea skipper, the team’s victory comes above individual honors and stats, a reflection of his humility that Tuchel is proud of too.
The coach further added:
“Not surprised but very, very nice that he’s like this. It sums up the whole picture of this is how he works and approaches his talent and this is how he approaches his duty as a captain of his club.
“Everything is humble and everything is still to the top level. That’s Azpi.”
Chelsea’s last hope of silverware this year
The Blues already have the UEFA Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup in the bag, but the FA Cup is their last hope of winning something in the 2022 calendar year.
So far, they have lost out in the final of the Carabao Cup, were knocked out of the Champions League, and saw their Premier League title charge melt away.
Another heartache today would just help ensure a bitter ending to a campaign that promised so much at the start.